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Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015

Supervisors plan to turn to residents as they decide on sanitary sewer

Monday, August 18, 2008

(Photo by Steve Pope) THE FLINGIN' FONDAN - John McLaughlin, 52, from Fonda, winds up in the popular cow chip throwing contest outside Pioneer Hall at the Iowa State Fair Wenesday.
The Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors began their second round of discussion of the wastewater treatment options for those who live south of the lake and those in Lake Creek who are affected by recent legislation. As they mull around the information given to them as they prepare to make a decision they say they feel it's important to include the communities involved in all discussion and let them take some ownership of the projects.

John Franklin with Barker and Lemar presented a tentative schedule of the project and scope of services as well as answered a list of questions prepared by the Board. The most important aspect of the project, Franklin says is working with the community throughout each step of the project. "My philosophy is the same when I do projects, keep the people informed," says Ken Hach. Franklin says he anticipates the study alone could take about four months, however, could even take as long as six months.

During the first month Franklin said they would focus on data collection. Franklin then said it would be wise to hold meetings to talk about wastewater and treatment options not just with the residents affected but the DNR as well. "Get their nod on what they'd (DNR) prefer or what they'd like to add," he said.

Franklin emphasised the importance of communication with the communities involved and said it would be important each community to select a liaison member to attend meetings and actively discuss the project and concerns the citizens may have. "They'll be able to help control the rumors," Franklin said. Franklin said it would also be important to meet with the City of Storm Lake in case of a possible annexation. "It's the City Council's decision whether they want to annex," he says. After modeling possible options, establishing operating costs, creating a draft of the report and making revisions it could be sent to the DNR for final approval says Franklin.

Franklin said since the areas that are part of the study are higher income properties and many of the grants available are for low to moderate income properties. " I see you depending more on the low interest loans."

Randy Van Dyke, Iowa Lakes Regional Water CEO says he also anticipates the study of the areas to take at least four months. "It takes a whole lot more time to plan than do," says Van Dyke. Van Dyke says this is especially true for areas that are more environmentally sensitive. He says a project like this could end up costing as much as $2 million. However, he says the sooner they start working on the project the more they could save with inflation costs. "Time is inflation," he says. Van Dyke says Erik Johnson, Assistant Construction Manager, would be in charge of the design of the system no matter what design. "We would be doing all the work ourselves. All field work is done by our staff to keep costs down," Van Dyke said. Van Dyke says the County could incur a lot more cost if they needed to hire a separate engineer.

Neal Kuehl with Kuehl and Payer says they would look at all possible areas and solutions. He says he feels if the Board makes a decision they could start the study of the area and possibly get it done before the end of the year and then be ready for construction in the spring. "We will not be limited to one solution," he said. Kuehl said he would like to create a questionnaire for the communities involved to get everyone's input and concerns. "Let them respond to us," he said.

Kuehl said the County can consult with other managers in other sewer districts to get their input on pluses and minuses of similar projects and how they've dealt with any controversy. Kuehl said the County could look at state revolving loan funds or planning and design loans. "There really are multiple ways to pay for this - there ain't no free lunch though," Kuehl says.

With the issues of possibly running the systems to the Storm Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant, Kuehl also brought up the possibility of running the Lake Creek system to Alta's plant. With the millions of gallons of water that go through Storm Lake's system every day Kuehl said he feels the addition would not be a burden to the system, however, there have been concerns of annexation. "I have to feel the City Council will have an open mind on this," Kuehl said.

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